The National Lawyers Guild is with dozens of groups in solidarity with incarcerated people across the nation who have declared a nationwide prison strike from August 21 to September 9, 2018, in response to the riot in Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in South Carolina. As part of our 2015 Resolution Supporting the Abolition of Prisons, the NLG is committed to working towards a world in which prisons are obsolete. This work includes supporting the rights and organizing of prisoners, including calls to support their strategies and demands. The below is from a press release by the organization, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak:
These are the NATIONAL DEMANDS of the men and women in federal, immigration, and state prisons:
- Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
- An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
- The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
- The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
- An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
- An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
- No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
- State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
- Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
- The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count!
From August 21st to September 9th, 2018, men and women in prisons across the nation will strike in the following manner:
- Work Strikes: Prisoners will not report to assigned jobs. Each place of detention will determine how long its strike will last. Some of these strikes may translate into a local list of demands designed to improve conditions and reduce harm within the prison.
- Sit-ins : In certain prisons, men and women will engage in peaceful sit – in protests.
- Boycotts: All spending should be halted. We ask those outside the walls not to make financial judgments for those inside. Men and women on the in side will inform you if they are participating in this boycott.
- Hunger Strikes: Men and women shall refuse to eat.
We invite you to support the strike in the following ways recommended by the Oakland Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee:
- Educate yourself and others about the strike demands
- Read the Prison Strike zine
- Listen to interview with Jailhouse Lawyers Speak organizers
- Follow #August21 and #prisonstrike on social media
- Endorse the strike by emailing your organization’s statement to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Spread word of the strike both inside and outside
- Organize a phone tree in preparation for phone zaps
- Amplify incarcerated voices via social media using the #August21 and #prisonstrike hashtags
- Join or organize a solidarity demo
The National Lawyers Guild is proud to support the strike, and we hope you will join us in lending your support to incarcerated organizers.